The government is working with regulators, banks and other agencies to resolve the issue of missing food grains stock in Punjab, minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters at a banking conclave here, Sinha said, “We are working with the regulators as well as the banks and various other government agencies to ensure the matter with respect to the food stocks in Punjab is satisfactorily resolved.”
He added that while the issue raised by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is correct, the explanation that banks have submitted is also correct. “We need to find a right solution for the issue,” Sinha said.
The RBI is understood to have asked the lenders to set aside money as provisions for non-performing assets. Loans to state governments are considered sovereign, and therefore banks say there is no need to set aside money.
Asked if the government was concerned about such malpractices in other states as well, Sinha said the government was looking for a systemic solution to ensure that whatever needs to be resolved across various agencies is done in a structured way. He did not specify the value of missing foodgrain.
Sinha said the government will investigate the case and come out with the actual position in a few days. According to reports, food grains procured by the Punjab government worth Rs 20,000 crore is missing from the state godowns, an allegation that has been rejected by the the Punjab government.
Around 30 banks, led by SBI, had extended loans of Rs 12,000 crore to the state for its food grains procurement programme.